The principal at Sydney school Cheltenham Girls’ High School will apologise after telling a group of students to dress more conservatively as to not “compromise the employment” of male teachers.
Leaked footage of Suellen Lawrence, the school’s principal, was shared with 7 News on February 14, where the controversial comments were made while attempting to enforce swimming carnival dress codes, including not wearing “stringy, skimpy or revealing” clothes.
“Some of the shorts were very short. And some of the tops were very stringy tops. Wear some clothing that covers you properly,” Lawrence can be heard saying in the clip. “Please remember girls there are male teachers in this school and they don’t want to be looking at that either.”
“Don’t compromise their employment because you can’t do the right thing,” she adds, while audible gasps can be heard from students.
In a statement, the NSW Department of Education said it did not support Ms Lawrence’s comments.
“The NSW Department of Education does not support the comments made by the principal to students last week. The comments were inappropriate and regrettable,” the statement read. “Cheltenham Girls High School is an outstanding school that advocates a positive image of women and high academic achievement.”
A student from the Upper North Shore school told ABC News that more education needed to be provided to teachers.
“I think there has to be more education for the teachers at this school,” they told ABC. “For them to be so fixated on the male gaze, rather than empowering female students is ridiculous.”
According to reports, Lawrence was set to give an apology to students on Monday, February 15.